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Our Summer Camp Leader answers a Q and A about what makes Surval Summer Camp so special...

Posted on: 21st March 2019 | Category: Camp Staff

Why Surval Summer Camp?

What is special about the school’s location and its Summer Camp activities?

Surval Summer Camp is in a breath-taking location, where girls wake up to the view of mountains kissed by sunlight, and end their day watching the rainbow of colours reflected in the lake by the sunset. Surval’s lakeside location, framed by the Alps, opens up wonderful, infinite opportunities for each girl to discover our beautiful natural environment. Surval’s small full-boarding camp enables campers to really get to know each other; our campers come back year after year, citing the “family-feel” of the camp as a key reason for their return. Additionally, each girl (having chosen her own activities) has a bespoke timetable created just for her, enabling all girls to take ownership of their Summer Camp experience and choose the activities they love – though with over fifty different activities on offer, they find it hard to fit it all in!

What are the advantages of the fact Surval Summer Camp takes place in an all-girl environment?

Campers at Surval are privileged to enjoy learning languages, playing sports and participating in activities within our friendly and liberating all-girl environment. Campers can be who they want to be, try what they want to try and learn a language the way they want to learn. In Surval’s all-girls Summer Camp, all girls are given the opportunity to take the lead, to work together and to compete in and outside of the classroom.


How many nationalities are there on average at the Surval Summer Camp, and how does this multi-cultural environment enrich the students’ cultural awareness?

Each year we have over 50 different nationalities during our Summer Camp; this enables girls to make life-long friends from all over the world, with some even returning year on year to create more memories together. Each camper learns to not only understand and thereby respect, but also to positively embrace and celebrate different backgrounds, cultures, religions and nationalities; and at the end of their stay, our campers leave the Summer Camp with a broader awareness of the world, thanks to their newly found friends from Surval.


What makes our language classes special?

During the mornings, each girl chooses to learn either French or English during our intensive language courses. This gives every camper fifteen hours of language lessons, which are often taught by our main school academic staff, who have many years of teaching experience. The classes are small, allowing our teachers to give more time to individual students, giving each girl the opportunity to develop and improve her chosen language quickly.


How do our afternoon activities allow students to foster a broad range of talents? (Creative, athletic, musical…)

Surval’s Summer Camp, offers every opportunity to all campers which means each camper can choose her own activities, enabling her to discover new talents or develop existing ones, whether creative, sporting, musical – or all of the above! Surval Summer camp encourages the girls to try a diverse range of pursuits, whilst the bespoke individual timetable enables each to tailor their experiences to suit her own preferences.  We also offer a number of individual private lessons, through which for example, campers can develop their musical and equestrian skills or try out another new language! Surval’s Summer camp gives everyone the opportunity to try everything that is on offer.


How do our activities encourage an appreciation of the natural surroundings of Switzerland?

With so many possibilities around us, Surval Summer Camp embraces the natural surroundings of Montreux and Switzerland. Not only do the girls participate in a plethora of activities on the lake and in the mountains, but our professional instructors and mountain leaders take the time to teach our campers about the wildlife in the surrounding areas. One of the girls’ favourite activities is the cave hike above the school, where the campers explore the natural caves formed thousands of years ago and discover the beautiful indigenous fauna. At Surval, we are always working towards a more sustainable lifestyle to help protect and preserve our planet, a philosophy at the heart of our school both throughout Summer Camp and the school year itself.


What kinds of cultural excursions are on offer?

We are very lucky to be based near some amazing locations and we wouldn’t want our campers to miss out on visiting interesting towns, cities and museums. Switzerland is famous for its delectable chocolate so a visit to the Chocolate Factory is featured in our Summer Camp schedule, and is highly popular every year with campers keen to sample its wares! A visit to Switzerland’s charming capital city, Bern, is a staple of the Summer Camp experience, with students given the opportunity to discover the cobbled streets and shopping arcades of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, whilst in the safety of camp supervision.

Other places we visit include the historic medieval towns of Yvoire and Annecy in France, Geneva and Lausanne, the home of the International Olympic Committee, where campers experience a walk-through Olympic history in the museum.


Which activities encourage students to challenge themselves through adventure / take them out of their comfort zone?

Surval Summer Camp, like Surval School, is a wonderful call to adventure for brave girls ready to make the step! There are so many opportunities for our summer campers to challenge themselves by trying something new; probably the biggest adventures on offer (besides our excursions to Euro-Disney Paris and Europa Park) are our range of water sports activities. In the stunning Alpine setting of Chateau d’Oex, the girls can try river-rafting, lake-kayaking and the hugely popular canyoning experience – swimming and scrambling down a river-canyon, and jumping off some cliffs on the way! Back on Surval’s shore of Lac Léman, the campers love the thrill of water sports such as wake-boarding, water-skiing, stand-up paddle boarding and, of course, banana boating. We also travel to the forest by Aigle Chateau for the thrills of the Aigle Adventure Park: a tree-top rope course with zip lines and bungee jumping – an unforgettable experience!


What teamwork and leadership opportunities does the camp offer?

Campers are encouraged to participate in a wide range of different group activities, for many of which good teamwork is essential. A great example of this is our own team building activity, which sets groups of students seemingly unsolvable problems; however, through working together and looking at all angles, teamwork prevails, and the campers solve the puzzle. During this activity, students also have the opportunity to take the lead and help others solve the problem. Adventure activities, such as canyoning, also encourage the girls to use their team work skills, particularly by motivating and encouraging their friends. Our Summer Camp Student of the Day award often recognises good teamwork and leadership.


How do we recognise and encourage student achievement?

At Surval Summer Camp, we encourage positive behaviour and reward each student’s personal achievements throughout the six weeks. Each day, one camper is nominated Student of the Day. This is agreed on by all Summer Camp staff and celebrates a diverse range of student achievement, from improvement in the classroom, performance during an activity or kindness towards others. Finally, at the end of each girl’s stay, she is awarded with a certificate which recognises her time at the camp and the effort she has given during language classes.


How do we keep parents informed about their child’s progress and contribution over the course of the summer camp?

It can sometimes be harder for parents to see their daughter go to a different country for a few weeks than for the girl herself! We keep parents informed on what their daughters are up to through our daily social media posts; we also keep in contact with parents personally as needed. Each camper also receives a Summer Camp report about her progress in lessons and involvement in activities.


What do the campers themselves say?

“I enjoyed coming to Surval Summer Camp for six weeks. Even though I missed my family a lot, Surval became my family. I made many new friends from all over the world. Also I learned that when you have an experience that is incredible and you are able to do it, then go for it. I thank everyone at Surval for making me part of their family” – Alexa, USA

“I had a great time at Surval! I had such a memorable experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else! Making friends from around the world was such a privilege!” – Ayah, Kuwait

“I liked the lessons, the activities, the trips to different cities and the time spent in Europa Park. I want to be back here again!!!! ♥️♥️♥️” – Lidia, Russia

“The staff members are insanely helpful, supportive and just genuinely great people. The activities are fun depending on what you like. I've made great friends thanks to this camp )” – Emmanuelle, South Africa

“I spent four weeks in Surval Summer Camp and I can honestly say that it was one of the best experiences in my life. I made many friends, more than I expected, and everyone was really nice. The inviting environment from both the campers and the staff made me feel at home. The girls were all really down to earth and fun. I would recommend this 100%. I plan on coming back soon, hopefully to meet new people and make new memories.” – Lidia, Mexico

“I loved Surval!! It was a different experience and very cool!! I made friends from all over the world and I really liked the activities and the food! I wish I can come again the next summer and for more weeks! ❤ “ – Stefanie, Greece

“It was so cool to meet new friends from around the world and to learn new information in English classes – all the activities were so much fun and all the girls are so sweet – and the teachers too! All the teachers are so kind and lovely with other girls!” – Jood, Jordan


Why do many of our students go on to apply for the academic year?

During Summer Camp, the girls get to know many of Surval’s teaching and boarding staff. They discover the joy of learning in small, individualised classes, one of the many stand-out features of Surval’s school provision. Similarly, they experience the many opportunities and activities which are offered at Surval as extra-curricular clubs and activities during lunchtime, after school and on weekends throughout the school year. They also fall in love with the school itself; the sunny building with its spectacular views, the safe, beautiful setting on the shores of Lac Léman and a family atmosphere.

Surval Summer Camp offers an introduction to a hands-on taste of the life to be experienced and enjoyed during the main school year. Because many girls love their Summer Camp experience, they decide to stay on for the academic year (availability dependent). Three years ago, one girl came to Summer Camp; she then returned for the following Autumn Term, which extended to a year, and now she is graduating from Surval this summer and going onto University in the UK to read International Law with French! Over the past six Summer Camps, it has been wonderful to see so many friendly faces return the following September!

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